In the near future, YouTube will stop supporting its Leanback interface for smart TVs. The website YouTube.com/tvoryoutube.com/leanback (which redirects to the former) has a large pop-up notification that reads: This version of YouTube will be discontinued soon. You’ll still be able to access YouTube.com, but using a compatible device will provide you an improved experience.
Since most streaming devices, including TVs and gaming consoles, now offer either native YouTube apps or full-fledged web access through multi-media browsers, the UI, which was first introduced in 2010 for smart TV users, has largely become a relic of the past. As a result, the number of users of the leanback interface has been steadily declining over time.
Although a specific date for the shutdown is yet unknown, it will be added to the long list of services and products that Google has discontinued over the years, including Google+, Google Allo, Google Trips, Google Reader, and more. While the majority of users won’t even notice the change, Raspberry Pi / HTPC users may find it to be quite problematic.
Since the native YouTube app is readily available on nearly all popular streaming devices, as was already reported, Google is very likely shutting down the interface. This suggests that usage for the web-app must have declined significantly over time. For the majority of users, it might not be a significant deal, but some users could need to find another way to view YouTube when the corporation decides to stop.